“Heaven” (Bart repeated the word curiously), “heaven is inside you when you grow to be like God; and through all ages and worlds heaven will be to do as He does, to suffer with those that are suffering, and to die with those that are dying. But remember, Ann, too, it means to rejoice with those who are rejoicing; and joy is greater than pain and heaviness. And heaven means always to be in peace and strength and delight, because it is along the line of God’s will where His joy flows.”
Ann rose and ran out of the house. To be in the sunshine and among the wild sunflowers was more to her just then than any wisdom. The wave of pity that had gone over her soul had ebbed in a feeling of exhaustion. Her body wanted warmth and heat. She felt that she wanted only that. After she had sat for an hour near the bank of the rippling stream, and all her veins were warmed through and through with the sunlight, the apparition of her father seemed like a dream. She had seen him thus once in life, and supposed him a spirit. She was ready to suppose what she had now seen to be a repetition of that last meeting, coming before she was well roused from her sleep. She took comfort because her pulses ran full and quiet once more. She thought of her love to Bart, and was content. As to all that Bart had said—ah well! something she had gathered from it, which was a seed in her mind, lay quiet now.
At length Toyner found strength to walk feebly, and sat down on the doorstep, where he could see Ann. It was his first conscious look upon this remote autumn bower, and he never forgot its joy. The eyes of men who have just arisen from the dim region that lies near death are often curiously full of unreasoning pleasure. Within himself Toyner called the place the Garden of Eden.
“If only I had not brought you here!” said Ann. “If only I had not left the canoe untied!”
For answer Bart looked around upon the trees and flowers and upon her with happy eyes that had no hint of past or future in them. Something of the secret of all peace—the Eternal Now—remained with him as long as the weakness of this injury remained.
“Don’t fret, Ann” (with a smile).
“I’m afraid for you; you look awful ill, and ought to have a doctor.”
He had it in his mind to tell her that he was all right and desired only what he had; but, in the dreamy reflective mood that still held him, what he said was:
“If all the trouble in earth and heaven and hell were put together, Ann, it would be just like clouds passing before the sun of joy. The clouds are never at an end, but each one passes and melts away. Ann! sorrow and joy are like the clouds and the sun.”